There is only one takeaway from three successive Gujarat assembly elections of 2002, 2007 and 2012. It’s a vote of faith in an individual, irrespective of the agenda, party and ideology. So the message is status quo in Gujarat for the next 5 years too. But the status quo is because people are hoping for a big change. So how does it go forward? By understanding CM - common man! Here are the reflections of a CM for a Chief Minister:
You have created history – a third consecutive term! It’s a first for any BJP chief minister. You know why people voted for you – they have expressed faith in your leadership. Perhaps, they voted you to go to Delhi.
There is a caveat. Absolute power comes with absolute sense of responsibility. Never before has Gujarat reposed so much faith in anyone. People voted for you and not for your candidates. You emphasised all along – jhukna nahi hai. But perhaps‘political compulsions’ made many of the tainted ones and criminals your candidates. But why do you need them in your cabinet? Set an example for the rest of the country to follow and deny berths to the likes of Parshottam Solanki, Babu Bokhiriya and Jetha Bharwad. Don’t grant them the honour of sitting in your cabinet.
Transparency is essential in democracy. Please ensure that Gujarat has a Lokayukta soon, if you don’t want to be in the league of leaders who are trying to hide a lot.
You have floated some wonderful ideas – Vibrant Gujarat summits and so on. Please don’t fall into a populist trap of big figure announcements that never materialize. Just make the rate of MoUs turning-into-investments so high that Gujarat leaves every state behind. Please know that your popularity is not directly proportional to the figures of MoUs.
Supporting business and industry is a holy cause in today’s economic scenario for the well-being of society. But the red carpet rolled out for big industries should be extended to the small and medium enterprises too. Let every small Gujarati entrepreneur feel equally privileged, for entrepreneurship is the unique strength of Gujarat on which your success is built.
It’s a known fact that urban and semi-urban middle classes of Gujarat are your biggest supporters. BRTS and many projects have showcased change. But urban traffic chaos in your Gujarat is as bad or worse than rest of India’s. The middle class wastes several hours commuting every day, as roads have narrowed to facilitate BRTS. Can’t you find one efficient traffic cop in every city to make commuting a song? Imagine the number of productive man-hours you will add to improve Gujarat’s overall performance! It will be an example for the rest of the country to follow.
You may have been asking the rest of India to forget the 2002 riots. In your words you are working for 6 crore Gujaratis. But your Sadbhavana needs to translate into action. Yesterday, you apologised for any errors you might have made. Perhaps you have left out minority areas in your visits. Go, visit Juhapura and Bombay Bakery ghettos of Ahmedabad - not just Sola Road and JP Chowk. Gujaratis living in this area too need to see their chief minister, in addition to water, gutter and power - irrespective of their religion. You alone can ensure that overnight.
Take this a little further. Every co-operative housing society in the cities has someone who prides in being ‘Modi-no-manas’. Please tell him it’s ok to let a Muslim or a Christian rent or buy a flat or bungalow in his society – of course after checking their credentials as they do in case of Hindus. Don’t deny them their fundamental rights because of their faith. And you will see many IT companies and MNCs suddenly warming up to Gujarat.
Some of the programmes you launched are wonderful concepts. But see beyond the reports submitted by the babus and the statisticalmayajaal created by them. Their actual implementation is not what you could be proud of. Despite being a proud power surplus state, thousands of Gujarat villages are happy if they get more than a couple of hours of electricity on their farms. Give them power. Suicide by 33 farmers is also the ghastliest reality that this state has witnessed. Let’s not go the Vidarbha way.
Getting Amitabh Bachchan to advertise Gujarat tourism is a great idea. But please visit your favourite White Rann of Kutch incognito, after the Kutch festival ends. You will regret having promoted it. What you see when your car passes is not exactly what the majority of tourists experience. The foreign diplomats that you proudly invited have not gone back with a kind word for tourism in Gujarat. It will take you just one meeting to set it right. After all, you have talked so fondly time and again about hygiene and cleanliness. The state assembly is the temple of democracy. Probably political compulsions allow many a criminal who should be behind the bars, to sit there. But at least make it a more efficient and delivery-oriented debating body rather than being a formality.
It’s a known fact that you are one of the finest orators around. Let your speeches drive a meaningful social change. Finally, democracy is what has given you the power that you enjoy. Media is a pillar that keeps it strong. Ridiculing a critical media is not befitting a leader of your stature. Common sense says that tolerance, inclusiveness and humility are what a common person looks for in a leader. Remember your promise to keep awake for every Gujarati.